“For eight years Russia has been doing everything possible to resolve the civil Ukraine crisis through diplomatic means and to end the genocide of the people of Donbass by the Kiev regime. None of the Western countries condemned the killings of dozens of people killed by Ukrainian Nazis when the union building was set on fire in Odessa. Not even the killings of civilians.”
This was stressed by the Russian ambassador to Greece Andrey Maslov, who invited some journalists – including Vradini – to the Russian Cultural Centre in Chalandri and presented them with Moscow’s positions on the war in Ukraine.
Maslov answered all the questions that were asked to him, and among other things stressed that Moscow does not want to occupy Ukraine, but the future of their country will be decided by Ukrainian citizens themselves.
He described the West’s stance on Russia as “hypocritical” and spoke of “a pole behind Europe’s coordinated stance,” alluding to the United States.
The ambassador declined to comment on whether Russia intends to cut off gas supplies to Europe in response to sanctions, saying his country was not isolated because “there are another 6 billion people on the planet.”
“It’s not the whole world, it’s the West,” he said, referring specifically to India and China, which are not involved in condemning Russia.
He called the shipment of weapons from Greece and other European countries very dangerous, saying that “it is oil on fire.”
Maslov claimed that these weapons could fall into the hands of “neo-Nazi paramilitaries or looters”.
Finally, referring to the statement by the Russian embassy against the Greek government, he said that “the statement was not harsher than the unfounded information that is being circulated.”
However, Maslov stressed the importance of continuing communication with the Foreign Ministry, which he described as constructive, and said that diplomacy is an all-time tool.
One last thing that may hide developments for the future.
Asked about occupied Cyprus, Maslov said that Moscow does not recognise the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,” adding: “As Greece does not recognise Kosovo.”
This was probably a reference meaning that if Greece’s attitude towards Kosovo changes later, Moscow’s attitude towards the occupied Cypriot territories will probably change as well.
In detail, the statements by Russian ambassador Andrey Maslov:
“Our compatriots and expatriates have been bombed for five and a half years, but the West did not react. NATO was expanding to the east and its countries have taken control of Ukraine. It is clear to us that NATO was turning Ukraine into a bridgehead against Russia. It’s a matter of life and death for Russia. It’s a threat to our state, and that’s a red line.”
On the Russia-NATO Founding Act:
It contained various commitments for the signatory countries, but as Maslov said. “after two years NATO started its expansion to the east. And since then there have been five waves of expansion.”
Regarding operations in Ukraine, he said that “the aim is to protect the people of Donbass and Russia from Kiev’s and NATO’s war threat.”
He argued that the decision on the operation complies with the rules of international law.
“Our plans do not include the occupation of Ukrainian territory. We are not threatening the residents, the army is not hitting civilians. The threat comes from Ukrainian nationalists who use them as a human shield. Irresponsible Western politicians have taken the situation to the extreme, and Russia will put an end to the years-long Donbas war,” Maslov said.
The future of Ukraine and trade:
“The armed forces will continue their operation until its goals are achieved. For the development of your business, I refer you to the Ministry of Defence. Negotiations continue, success will depend on the fulfillment of conditions announced by President Putin. That is, recognition of Russia’s sovereignty over Crimea, and the demilitarisation, de-Nazification and neutrality of Ukraine. The Ukrainians themselves will determine their future. A key issue for Russia is securing security guarantees, and we insist on NATO not extending eastward.
On the attitude of the international community:
Maslov spoke in support of relations with the US but highlighted “there are another six billion people in the world. China and India did not support the illegal sanctions.”
On the murder of ethnic Greeks in Mariupol:
“The Minister of Foreign Affairs took a step, we gave our clarifications based on the official information from the Ministry of Defence on the tragedy in Sartana. Russian aircraft were not operating in the area that day. On February 26, the Ukrainian Azov Battalion hit the village of Sartana and Mariupol with rocket launchers. Our communication with the Greek Foreign Minister is seamless and daily. Diplomacy is an all-time tool and we must maintain and build this constructive communication. Our post was not harsher than the unfounded anti-Russian information we see in European and Greek media. The Greek journalists who were in Mariupol saw what happened and how the fascist group Azov operates.
For the supply of weapons to Ukraine:
“It’s very dangerous. Weapons can become the property of Nazi battalions and militants. The shipment of weapons is oil and fire, and not only Kalashnikovs but also anti-tank missiles have been sent. Countries involved in the supply of lethal weapons will be held accountable. They cannot but understand the importance and the consequences.”
Regarding the consequences of bad Greek-Russian relations:
“Our cooperation in Culture has been interrupted, I have no doubt that in the future that relations will be restored, but now it is impossible to say when this will happen. Due to traditional relations, at some point in the future they will be restored but the procedures will be time consuming.”
Will the crisis affect Greek-Turkish relations?
“I am not competent to comment on Greek-Turkish relations, ask the Greek authorities. Russia’s position on the Cyprus issue has not changed and remains as it always has been and is based on UN resolutions. Russia does not recognise the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus as Greece does not recognise Kosovo.”
Evidence of war crimes?
Maslov said Moscow had evidence of crimes committed by Ukrainians.
“We have a lot of evidence of neo-Nazi crimes of the last eight years in Donbass. The neo-Nazi battalions continue to commit crimes even now,” he said.
However, he refrained from saying what is new on the gas situation.
“We have no information on whether the supply of gas will be cut off,” the ambassador said.
When speaking about Ukrainian President Zeklensky, he said Russia recognised him as “president” but it will be decided by the Ukrainians themselves.
“Occupying Ukraine is not our goal,” Maslov said.
Asked to comment on the Greek Prime Minister’s speech in Parliament, he said: “I would not like to comment on Mr. Mitsotakis’ statements so as not to disrupt our bilateral relations.”
“His statements do not differ from those of other EU leaders. We were not surprised,” the ambassador said.
“Greece has been a member of NATO since 1952. What else should we expect from Greece?” Maslov continued.
He assessed that the Ukrainian economy is not prepared for EU membership, saying that after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Ukraine was destroyed despite having a significant economy.
“How can it join the EU?” he questioned.
“Our perception of events is different from that of the West,” Maslov said, adding that “governments are being manipulated by one. Patience is needed from all of us. NATO and the EU behave the same because they are manipulated by one pole.”